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September 5, 2012 

Bangkok Climate Talks Show Big Challenges Still Unresolved

BANGKOK (Sept. 5, 2012) – Climate negotiators wrapped up a week of talks today in which they attempted to narrow differences between the world’s largest polluters ahead of a major climate summit in Doha, Qatar at the end of the year.

Discussions focused on extending emissions reduction commitments for developed countries – excluding the United States – out to 2020 under the Kyoto Protocol. Negotiators also discussed the structure of new negotiations towards a more comprehensive, post-2020 climate treaty, which were launched at last year’s climate summit in Durban, South Africa. Finally, countries considered how they could enhance actions on mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance under the existing climate treaty.

Participants sharply criticized United States negotiators for saying they shouldn’t be expected to do more to cut carbon pollution at home over the next decade. At the same time, developed countries were reluctant to discuss how they would meet the joint commitment they made in Copenhagen in 2009 to substantially ramp up their financial support for developing country actions to limit emissions and to deal with the mounting consequences of climate change.

Below is a statement by UCS Director of Strategy and Policy Alden Meyer:

“The current drought in much of the United States, flooding in large parts of Southeast Asia, and unprecedented reductions in the extent of Arctic sea ice all remind us that climate change is getting worse.

“But this stark reality has yet to generate a commensurate sense of urgency in global climate negotiations. What the world needs from political leaders is more ambitious action to limit the heat-trapping emissions that cause climate change. Not more finger-pointing designed to evade responsibility for confronting the climate threat.

“While some progress was made in Bangkok, big differences must be resolved in the next few months if countries are going to keep their promises to effectively deal with climate change. Countries should work to ensure that the Doha climate summit delivers real progress, and restores momentum to our collective efforts to limit climate change.

“This isn’t Las Vegas. What happens in Doha won’t stay in Doha – a failure to act would negatively affect people, economies and ecosystems all over the world.”


The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.

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